Canary Islands

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Canary Islands called by the Romans ‘the fortunate isles’, have had human beings in residence and enjoying their remarkably agreeable subtropical climate since the time of the Cro-Magnon culture in the south-west of France. Indeed, the first inhabitants, known as Guanche, arriving about 2000 bc, probably came from that culture and thus shared a common ancestry with the Spanish conquistadores who took the islanders under Spanish rule at the end of the 15th century. So the cuisine which had existed in the islands and that which was brought in by the Spaniards already had some features in common. Both alike were influenced by the arrival of new foods from the Americas (see columbian exchange), for example the maize which has become an important crop in Gomera.